DE CORRELATIONIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM: clarifying a few ambiguities

I have been giving my response to Katerina Kolozova’s introduction to her book CUT OF THE REAL, which is unfair as she has written a long book and it deserves consideration in full. Her Introduction struck me, as it is very clear, but slightly out of phase with the rest of her work that I have read. My only worry is that the orthodoxy that she deplores, which prevents perceiving Foucault, Deleuze, Lyotard, and Derrida as realists, may find some anchoring points within “Laruellianism” itself. In my comments on the historical sketch Kolozova gives, her own ideas are not in question. In fact I argue that Quentin Meillassoux and those that follow him are implicitly (or sometimes explicitly) committed to the claim that for example the Foucault of DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH is caught in the correlationist circle, when clearly this claim is not shared by Kolozova.

So he first part of Kolozova’s introduction to CUT OF THE REAL does not represent her own views, nor is it invoking intellectual affinities, but rather setting up one possible way of contextualising her own thinking in terms of an ambient desire for realism. I am well aware of Kolozova’s quite different, Laruellian, explication of “correlation” and I commented on its usefulness in resolving a philosophical cramp I had contracted from reading the OOO/SR versions of the concept, and in reconciling me with the term “correlation” a little over a year ago (here, and later here).

I was recently called to task by card-carrying “Laruellians” for posting remarks on Bruno Latour in relation to posts on Laruelle. This monist reaction is just like the exclusive behaviour of supporters of their favorite football team who denigrate the other teams, for no real reason except territoriality. In her Introduction Kolozova declares that we can make use of Deleuzian concepts without feeling the need to be a “Deleuzian”. One extracts a concept from a philosophical system, and one reduces it to its transcendental minimum, i.e. one reduces the concept “to the conceptual content that describes the workings of the real that have necessitated it (the concept), to its determination in the last instance” (4). This is a reduction that is the opposite of reductionism: the reduction to the transcendental minimum is a procedure of correlating the concept with the real:

“In order to arrive to the radical concept, thought has to correlate only with the real and in an immanent way … rather than with the entire conceptual apparatus of a school of thinking” (4).

(Note: this is the procedure that we examined in the last post: disorganize the system, extract the concepts, reduce them to their transcendental minimum, correlate them with the real. My worry lies in the further specification of how to “correlate with the real” may be spelled out in the simplistic cycle of observe the real (observation), react (selection), invent a syntax (hypothesis), subject the syntax to the real (test i.e. confirmation or falsification). This empiricist cycle is not a general description of science, and so should not be extrapolated into a non-philosophical methodology, except as one possible procedure amongst many).

I am radically in favor of Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy, but I am not a Laruellian. I feel no need to endorse the whole Laruellian conceptual apparatus and I apply to Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy the same procedures of disorganisation, extraction, and reduction to raw conceptual material that he applies to others. In this relation, I have always talked in terms of non-Laruellian non-philosophy because I do not want this thought to be a school or a commercial phenomenon or a matter of discipleship

I find that the trinity Laruelle-Latour-Stiegler helps us to reconnect with Deleuze, Derrida, Lyotard, Foucault, over and above the pseudo-philosophical interlude of SR/OOO and their “new” realism. I do not wish that the impact of Kolozova’s thought be neutralised by the perceived need to relate it to this SR/OOO archipelago of thought .So I have tried to disorganize her historical contextualization and to extract her thinking from the necessity to correlate with the OOO/SR/Badiou/Zizek configuration of thought.

I think that the huge difference that is asserted to exist (by Laruellians) between Laruelle and Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, and Lyotard is itself a “philosophical” artefact. At its best it is of pedagogical value in eliciting Laruelle’s differences from standard philosophy, at its worst it is just barracking for one’s home team. Given that Deleuze wrote in collaboration with Guattari, i.e. with someone from outside philosophy, I think that the Laruellians will have to come up with something better than non-psychoanalysis to show their procedure of “radicalisation” of concepts at work in the domain of the psyche.

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